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Spring 2011 Spanish Film Festival

Posted Feb. 9, 2011

March 4-6, 2011

Michael Schwartz Auditorium  

  • Friday, March 4 at 7:30 pm:  Volver (Volver)
  • Saturday, March 5 at 2:00 pm:  El Bola (Pellet)
  • Saturday, March 5 at 7:30 pm:  Celda 211 (Cell 211)
  • Sunday, March 6 at 2:00 pm:  Un Novio Para Yasmina (A Fiancé for Yasmina)   

All films are in Spanish with English subtitles and are FREE and open to the public.   

Volver  In acclaimed filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar's comedy drama, Abuela Irene (Carmen Maura) returns -- in ghostly form -- to her hometown to resolve problems she could not settle during her lifetime. The film focuses on the interactions between three generations of women in a Spanish family. Raimunda (Penélope Cruz) was born and raised in the village of Alcanfor de las Infantas, in La Mancha, Spain. She now resides in Madrid, where she works as a janitor. She is married to Paco (Antonio de la Torre), an unemployed worker, and looks after her daughter, Paula (Yohana Cobo). Raimunda's younger sister, Sole (Lola Dueñas), also lives in Madrid and works as a hair stylist, while their aunt Paula (Chus Lampreave) still makes her home in La Mancha, with occasional help from neighbor Agustina (Blanca Portillo). The story takes an unusual and mystical twist when Agustina mentions that Irene has begun reappearing in ghostly form.  The New York Times called Volver" "the work of a master and a testament to the filmmaker's generosity of spirit."

El Bola (Pellet). Winner of the Best Film Goya Award, the Spanish Oscars,  in 2001, this film by director Achero Mañas follows twelve year old Pablo, nicknamed "El Bola" ("The Pellet"), growing up in a rough neighborhood of Madrid.  Suffering from abuse by his father, Pablo isolates himself from other children at school, at least until the arrival of a new boy, Alfredo.  Pablo and Alfredo immediately become friends, and Pablo is drawn out by the warm, nurturing atmosphere in Alfredo's family, which contrasts so sharply with that of his own.  When Alfredo finds out about Pablo's situation, he tells his parents, and his father José, together with a social worker, Laura, sets out to arrange a safer environment for Pablo.  While bluntly portraying parental child abuse, this film explores two polar opposite examples of fatherhood and parental authority, and starkly examines the wrenching choices faced by José, the main adult character.  "Director Achero Mañas's work is clearly derived from Loach, but with a fierce and concerted sincerity of its own."  Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian. 

 Celda 211(Cell 211 ). Winner of eight Goya Awards in 2010, this prison thriller by director Daniel Monzón also won prizes at the Seattle International Film festival. This surprising and dark movie follows new guard Juan in a high security prison. The day he arrives, he finds himself in the middle of a violent riot.  Juan quickly realizes what he must do in order to survive: as no one knows him yet, he pretends to be a prisoner. "In addition to its effectiveness as a thriller, it is also a film showing a man in the agonizing process of changing his values. And it is a critique of a cruel penal system. It doesn't preach, it doesn't end with a message, but it makes us think." Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times.

Un Novio Para Yasmina( A Fiancé for Yasmina). Yasmina is a cultured and attractive young Moroccan woman who has moved to Spain to pursue her studies.  She lives in a small agricultural town with her brother Abdel and a number of other Moroccans.  She doesn't quite fit in with the other Moroccans, or indeed with the Spanish, but she feels more at ease with the members of a local support organization for immigrants.  Yasmina is engaged and passionately in love with Javi, a young local police officer, but the relationship suffers when she brings up the question of marriage, a topic on which he is extremely evasive.  A tenderhearted romantic story, "Un Novio" charts the tangled imbroglio that arises when Yasmina and her group of friends face the unpredictable dilemmas brought on by love.  A rare treat that has hardly been screened in the United States, this film by director Irene Cardona was nominated for the Goya Awards in 2009 and won three awards at the Málaga Spanish Film Festival in 2008.


This festival is made possible with the support of the Spanish Ministry of Culture and of the College of Arts and Sciences at Kent State University.

Picture for Volver provided by Sony Picture Classics. Picture for Cell 211 by IFC Films. Picture for Un Novio Para Yasmina courtesy of the Spanish Ministry of Culture.

For directions to campus and a campus map, please see: Parking is available in the Michael Schwartz parking lot and the Kent State Student Center parking lot.    

This series is made possible through a grant from the Spanish Embassy and funding from the College of Arts and Sciences.  Co-sponsored by the History Department and the Institute for Applied Linguistics.   

For more information, contact or